Politics & Issues

Political news

We're getting our basic information together for the general election page that will be going up fairly soon on the Beacon. And I was double checking the Illinois districts.

Shimkus, check. Opposed.

Costello, check. Opposed.

Hare, hmmm. I haven't been following Illinois politics as closely as I once did. Who is Hare? He was first elected in 2006 and was unopposed in 2008. Since the race wasn't contested two years ago, he was under my radar screen.

Joe Biden in stl
Bill Greenblat | UPI | 2010

Vice President Joe Biden exhorted fellow Democrats gathered here Friday to remember what they stand for, and what they've delivered, when they make their case to the American public to keep Democrats in control in Washington, and to elect more Democratic governors.

Biden contended that Democrats can fare best in this fall's elections if the party and its candidates "lay out honestly what we did and honestly what the alternative is."

As it stands, said Biden and other national Democratic leaders, Americans are hearing a earful of inaccuracies and some outright lies.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine asserted Thursday that the Republican emphasis on the proposed mosque near New York's Ground Zero, and the growing inaccurate belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, "confirm a narrative" that the GOP is "whipping up fear and division" in the hope that such destructive tactics will win votes.

"The party of 'No' is wanting to go backward," Kaine told reporters after addressing national Democratic officials during today's "executive committee" portion of its two-day meeting in St Louis.

Theories have limits. Some account for phenomena quite well when applied within given parameters, only to fail miserably when expanded beyond them. Ironically, it is often the more limited theory that appeals most strongly to common sense. Consider the case of Ptolemy.

Ptolemy (ta-le-mi) was a 2nd-century astronomer who, like virtually all of his contemporaries, believed that the heavens revolved around the Earth. This geocentric conception of the universe worked quite well for the ordinary living of his day. In fact, it still does.

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is demanding an apology this morning from the camp of Republican rival Roy Blunt, in the wake of a new Blunt campaign Web video -- now pulled off the internet -- that features footage from New York City's Ground Zero, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, juxaposed with audio of Carnahan declining to take a position on a mosque proposed to be built nearby.

Carnahan, currently Missouri's secretary of state, said in a statement this morning:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says that President Barack Obama has issued a major disaster declaration for "areas across Missouri hit by flooding, severe storms and excessive rain during June and July."

Such a declaration means that the federal government will cover 75 percent of the eligible emergency response and recovery expenses, beginning with the storms on June 12.

Calvin Coolidge made a typically terse observation that deserves attention now that a jury divided on 23 other counts unanimously agreed that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich lied to federal agents. “No man ever listened himself out of a job,” the iconically laconic 30th president of the United States once said.

Federal prosecutors in complicated white-collar cases that end in mistrials often win convictions the second time around, according to a study by Washington University law professor Kathleen Brickey. Brickey, an expert on white-collar crime, pointed to the study in the wake of the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial that ended in a mistrial on 23 of 24 counts against the former governor and a conviction on the other count of lying to FBI agents.

Two local Illinois state representatives have issued their reactions to Tuesday's verdict in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Jay Hoffman is known as a longtime ally of Blagojevich; Ron Stephens is a longtime critic. Both voted to impeach Blagojevich in January 2009.

Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville:

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's one-count conviction Tuesday could reinforce the state's "cynicism virus" -- or galvanize voters to take action in the November elections, says the head of a watchdog group that pushes for political reform in the state.

State Rep. Cynthia Davis will still wield political clout, even though she lost her Republican bid for the state Senate.

Davis, R-O'Fallon, confirmed this afternoon that she has been elected chair of the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee, effective immediately. The vote, conducted Tuesday night, was unanimous, she said.

Davis' selection for the unpaid but powerful post underscores the clout of the Tea Party movement in St. Charles County.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, has gone on the air with her first campaign TV spot -- which features her in jeans talking about jobs, blasting Washington and "the government."

Emerson, who has been in office since 1996 and remains Missouri's first and only Republican woman elected to Congress, offers up an outside-the-beltway image as she heads into her latest re-election bid.

Republican congressional candidate Ed Martin condemned late Tuesday the suspected arson attack on the campaign headquarters of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

Photo by Rachel Heidenry | Beacon intern

Donald Stastny said designs must work with the power and unpredictability of the river.

Want to swim in a pool in a floating pavilion in the Mississippi River near the Gateway Arch? Or ride high above the river in a gondola taking in panoramic views?

How about an attractive, safe way to stroll across traffic from Citygarden and the Gateway Mall onto the Arch grounds -- or pass a beer garden or ice skating rink to get to Chouteau's Landing south of the Arch?

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay appears to be the first prominent Missouri politician -- Democrat or Republican -- to weigh in on the national debate over the proposed construction of a new Islamic center and mosque in New York.  

The proposed site is just a few blocks away from Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers stood before they were destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people (in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.).

Democrats in Missouri are abuzz over today's report in Politico, the national online politics site, about the "$22 million TV ad blitz" soon to be launched by the National Republican Congressional Committee in 40 House districts around the country.

No Missouri House seats are among them, despite frequent national GOP assertions that U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and Ike Skelton, D-Lexington, are among their targets.

A top official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is accompanying the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S Rep. Roy Blunt, around the state today to emphasize the chamber's commitment to help the congressman from southwest Missouri as he seeks to succeed another of their favorites -- retiring U.S. Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond.

At a "prayer vigil" held Monday night by his allies, state Rep. Brian Nieves blamed his legal troubles on unnamed "kingmakers and the powerbrokers in the state of Missouri" who he contends want to block his likely ascension to the Missouri Senate.

"They want to hang me up like a scarecrow," asserted Nieves, R-Washington, to at least 150 people attending a riverfront rally in downtown Washington, Mo. The crowd frequently broke into cheers and standing ovations to show their support.

Under the separation of powers of the U.S. Constitution, activities not enumerated fall to the purview of the states. Such it has been with the jurisdiction of family law. Each state has enacted laws governing marriage, adoption, and sexual activity.

Amid state and national handwringing among Democratic officials and the faithful, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine are headlining a meeting of national and regional Democrats in St. Louis later this week.

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